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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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rapid transportation facilities, has spread congestion from the city—where it is always present but where larger and larger parts of the population elect to live—to the nonurban landscape and most notably to recreation areas such as parks and beaches.
The situation so far has been quite different in less developed countries, where food claims half and more of a family's expenditure (surveys in India put it at 60 to 70 percent) and the elasticity of the demand for food is high. Because of the low levels of income in developing countries, even relatively rapid increases in per capita income have not in the aggregate put much pressure on nonfood resources. Food is a nonpostponable necessity of life for which there is no substitute, and because it absorbs such a large share of family income, it has always been the most critical resource problem.
At the same time, the rising demand for more and better food, which comes from both increased numbers and rising income, has pressed hard against land and water resources. To the extent that food becomes more widely available, expenditure patterns will change. Rising income will have increasing impact, and attention will shift from adequacy of food, land, and water to other resources, and unless the developing nations take extraordinary care, pollution will accompany these changes.
The Resource Future
From a worldwide view, divergent resource utilization and population trends suggest that, to the end of the century and probably beyond, there is sufficient promise in technology to assure the availability of resources, especially when technology is assisted by management to minimize wastefulness and maximize efficiency. Even for the short run, however, the confidence about resource adequacy in high income countries cannot hold for the poorer ones. Given the grossly unequal geographic distribution of many resources, optimism would be justified only if each country were endowed with enough nonresource-based earning capacity to obtain by trade what it cannot obtain by production. Adequate data on which to make such assessments are not available, and it is impossible to judge whether the resource position of each country will be analogous to that of the world as a whole. The fragmentary or episodic evidence that exists leads one to believe that the answer is negative. After all, although trade fills the gap in resource endowment, each country needs something to trade. That "something" is in many instances not readily apparent.
To illustrate, Fisher and Potter (see Volume II of this report) speculate on the magnitude of energy consumption by the end of the century. By assuming a continuing rising 10-year trend (1955-65), noncommunist Asia's energy consumption could reach 10 billion tons of coal-equivalent by the year 2000. At that level the area would enjoy a per capita consumption about 10 percent